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ˈshrimp How to pronounce shrimp (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsrimp
plural shrimp or shrimps
: any of numerous mostly small and marine decapod crustaceans (suborders Dendrobranchiata and Pleocyemata) having a slender elongated body, a compressed abdomen, and a long spiny rostrum and including some (especially family Penaeidae) that are commercially important as food
also : a small crustacean (such as an amphipod or a branchiopod) resembling the true shrimp
usually disparaging : a very small or puny person or thing
shrimplike adjective
ˈshrim-pē How to pronounce shrimp (audio)


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shrimped; shrimping; shrimps

intransitive verb

: to fish for or catch shrimp

Example Sentences

Noun He's a little shrimp of a boy. the boy was just a shrimp until his teens, when he had a growth spurt
Recent Examples on the Web
Pour the sauce over and gently toss with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the shrimp and avocado are thoroughly coated. Janelle Davis, CNN, 7 Feb. 2023 Brine shrimp are a critical food source for the aquaculture industry. Evan Bush, NBC News, 21 Jan. 2023 Brine shrimp are part of the foundation of the Great Salt Lake's food web. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 22 July 2022 The Mexican brunch restaurant is known for its breakfast stuffed poblano pepper, which is made with shrimp and melted cheese. Endia Fontanez, The Arizona Republic, 28 Jan. 2023 Popular menu items include snapper Orleans, Gulf shrimp and grits, and for those nostalgic for a popular Houston's favorite, the eatery brought back the Hawaiian ribeye. Gabi De La Rosa, Chron, 9 Nov. 2022 Sizzlefish delivers high-quality seafood directly to your door, including wild Alaskan King salmon, wild Gulf shrimp, scallops, clams, crab and more. Stefani Sassos, M.s., R.d.n., C.s.o., Good Housekeeping, 26 Sep. 2022 Turning gulf shrimp shells into an alternative to plastics. William Thornton |, al, 8 Sep. 2022 Pacifico appetizer made of Gulf shrimp, serrano, tomato and avocado, cured with lime. Dallas News, 2 Aug. 2022
Danielle tells us he’s gluten free, chicken free, pork free, and shrimp free. Meg Zukin, Vulture, 20 Sep. 2022 Also available: shrimp alone (10 pieces with fries, $13) or in combination with fish ($15 or $16); fried perch ($14); breaded chicken tenders with fries ($8); children's fish fry ($8); Greek salad ($5); and Greek desserts ($2). Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 Feb. 2022 Only brine flies and shrimp can survive in the salty water, creating a unique ecosystem that supports 10 million migratory birds. Bill Weir, CNN, 10 Feb. 2023 Or, for $250, VIPs could attend a pre-show reception that featured lamb meatballs and shrimp, as well as beer and wine. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 9 Feb. 2023 In the bowl of a food processor, combine the shallots, garlic, red and Thai chiles, turmeric, ginger, galangal, chopped lemongrass bulb, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and shrimp paste, if using. Pat Tanumihardja, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2023 Add in coconut cream or milk, chicken breast (or tofu or shrimp), and mushrooms. Blaine Callahan, Hartford Courant, 30 Jan. 2023 Freeze shrimp for at least 4 days then defrost gently in the refrigerator to ensure that no bacteria can form during defrosting. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 23 Dec. 2022 Chef Mike’s take on gumbo proved to be reminiscent of the old school, with lots of crab and shrimp in a dark broth. al, 7 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shrimp.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English shrimpe; akin to Middle Low German schrempen to contract, wrinkle, Old Norse skorpna to shrivel up

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1808, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shrimp was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near shrimp

Cite this Entry

“Shrimp.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural shrimps or shrimp
: any of numerous small mostly marine shellfish that are crustaceans related to the lobsters, that have a long slender body, an abdomen that is very thin from side to side, and long legs, and that include some important as food
: a very small or unimportant person or thing
shrimplike adjective


2 of 2 verb
: to fish for or catch shrimps

More from Merriam-Webster on shrimp

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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